Intersubjective Meaning and Collective Action In'Fragile'Societies: Theory, Evidence and Policy Implications

39 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016  

Varun Gauri

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Michael Woolcock

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); Harvard University - Kennedy School of Government; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Deval Desai

University of London, School of Oriental & African Studies - School of Law

Date Written: June 1, 2011

Abstract

The capacity to act collectively is not just a matter of groups sharing interests, incentives and values (or being sufficiently small), as standard economic theory predicts, but a prior and shared understanding of the constituent elements of problem(s) and possible solutions. From this standpoint, the failure to act collectively can stem at least in part from relevant groups failing to ascribe a common intersubjective meaning to situations, processes and events. Though this is a general phenomenon, it is particularly salient in countries characterized by societal fragility and endemic conflict. We develop a conceptual account of intersubjective meanings, explain its relevance to development practice and research, and examine its implications for development work related to building the rule of law and managing common pool resources.

Keywords: Corporate Law, Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures, Cultural Policy, Labor Policies, Population Policies

Suggested Citation

Gauri, Varun and Woolcock, Michael and Desai, Deval, Intersubjective Meaning and Collective Action In'Fragile'Societies: Theory, Evidence and Policy Implications (June 1, 2011). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5707. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1871603

Varun Gauri (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/vgauri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Michael Woolcock

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Mailstop MC3-306
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-9258 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/mwoolcock

Harvard University - Kennedy School of Government ( email )

Littauer-G-11G
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-0911 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ksgfaculty.harvard.edu/michael_woolcock

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Deval Desai

University of London, School of Oriental & African Studies - School of Law ( email )

London, WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

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